Florida Realtor April 2011 : Page 30

Market It “The average tourist wants to go to places where there are no tourists.” —Sam Ewing, American author and television producer rals from the local industry too. She also makes contacts by volunteering to help with events aimed at visitors, and she lists events and other businesses on her websites. Open online tourist centers Graham puts most of her marketing dollars into the Internet and maintains scores of websites that serve up travel information about her market and near-by referral markets. On domains like NaplesTouristCenter.com , MarcoIsland-TouristCenter.com and BonitaSprings-TouristCenter.com , she packs Web pages with visitor advice and information. She also places banner ads for her real estate company on the sites. Open a tourist center Graham admits that a brick-and-mortar tourist bureau is “old-school” thinking, but says that if your real estate brokerage TOuRIsT buREAus buILD busInEss is in a high-tourist-traffic location, it can pay off. The office must be properly iden-tified as a real estate brokerage, and sales associates can pull floor duty there too. “I’m not charging [tourist businesses] for Here’s how to get business by serving visitors. the rack space,” says Graham. “I’m just do-ing it as a service.” fter touring all to 40 percent of her customers are walk-Her branch office—the Naples Tourist 50 states in a ins looking for tourism information. Center—is open every day from 8 a.m. to van with her Here’s her advice: 10 p.m., with two or three agents on duty. family (twice) and writ-Rent is $4,000 a month for 1,100 square ing a book about their Be helpful feet, and she’s furnished it with low-cost adventures (“Headfirst Marlene Graham “First, have a working knowledge of all of furniture and brochure racks from com-into America”), Mar-Tropics Real the [local] tourism activities,” says Gra-panies that liquidate businesses. Estate LLC, ham. Even if your real estate office isn’t in Graham says, being of service to visi-lene Graham chose Naples Naples as home in an area with high tourist traffic, she sug-tors pays off. “It makes our real estate 2000. “Now I tell people I traveled all gests, you can be a mini–tourist bureau office unique.” 50 states, and out of everything I picked, if you have a small supply of brochures No. 1, Florida and, No. 2, Southwest from attractions, hotels, restaurants and HERE’S HOW Florida,” says Graham, owner of Tropics other areas of interest. Graham includes 1. Learn what visitors should know tourism brochures when she’s sending Real Estate LLC. about your town. Eager to share her enthusiasm for out real estate information. “[Through 2. Network with local tourism Naples, Graham began keeping local tourism] we become friends with people companies. tourism brochures at her real estate first, in a nonthreatening way.” 3. Gather brochures and be gener-desk for walk-ins to take. “When you ous with them. sell in Florida, you’re selling the com-Build relationships 4. Create tourism websites for munity first,” she says. By 2006, Gra-To get brochures, Graham introduces your town and nearby areas. ham had opened a branch office with a herself to managers and staff at hotels, full-service tourist bureau next to her attractions, restaurants, tour operators 5. Open a branch bureau if you’re brokerage and built scores of tourism and the local chamber of commerce. in a busy tourist district. information websites. Now she says 30 The networking yields real estate refer-Sandals with Socks A 30 FLORIDA REALTOR April 2010

Market It

Sandals With Socks

Here’s how to get business by serving visitors.

After touring all 50 states in a van with her family (twice) and writing a book about their adventures ("Headfirst into America"), Marlene Graham chose Naples as home in2000. "Now I tell people I traveled all 50 states, and out of everything I picked, No. 1, Florida and, No. 2, Southwest Florida," says Graham, owner of Tropics Real Estate LLC.

Eager to share her enthusiasm for Naples, Graham began keeping local tourism brochures at her real estate desk for walk-ins to take. "When you sell in Florida, you're selling the community first," she says 30 to 40 percent of her customers are walkins looking for tourism information.Here’s her advice:

Be helpful

“First, have a working knowledge of all of the [local] tourism activities ,” says Gr aham. Even if your real estate office isn’t in an area with high tourist traffic, she suggests, y ou can be a mini–touris t bureau if you have a small supply of brochures from attractions, hotels, restaurants and other areas of interest. Graham includes tourism brochures when she’ s sending out real estate information. “[Through tourism] we become friends with people first, in a nonthreatening way.”

Build relationships

To get brochures, Graham introduces herself to managers and staff at hotels , attractions, r estaurants, tour operators and the local chamber of commerce.The networking yields real estate referrals Rals from the local indus try too. She also makes contacts b y v olunteering to help with e vents aimed at visitors , and she lists events and other businesses on her websites.

Open online tourist centers

Graham puts mos t of her marketing dollars into the Internet and maintains scores of websites that serve up travel information about her mark et and nearby referral markets. On domains like NaplesTouristCenter.com, MarcoIsland- TouristCenter.com and BonitaSprings- TouristCenter.com, she packs Web pages with visitor advice and information. She also places banner ads for her real estate company on the sites.

Open a tourist center

Graham admits that a brick -and-mortar tourist bureau is “ old-school” thinking , but says that if y our real estate brokerage is in a high-touris t-traffic location, it can pay off. The office mus t be properly identified as a real estate brokerage, and sales associates can pull floor duty there too .“I’m not char ging [tourist businesses] for the rack space,” says Graham. “I’m just doing it as a service.”

Her branch office—the Naples Tourist Center—is open every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with two or three agents on duty.Rent is $ 4,000 a month for 1,100 square feet, and she’s furnished it with low-cost furniture and brochure racks from companies that liquidate businesses.

Graham says, being of service to visitors pays off . “I t makes our real estate office unique.”

HERE’S HOW

1. Learn what visitors should know about your town.

2. Network with local tourism companies.

3. Gather brochures and be generous with them.

4. Create tourism websites for your town and nearby areas.

5. Open a branch bureau if you’re in a busy tourist district.

Read the full article at http://browndigital.bpc.com/article/Market+It/1288483/143037/article.html.

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